WinInfo Short Takes: Week of June 26 - 23 Jun 2000

Internet Explorer oddities abound this week

I have no idea what's going on with IE this week: Just a day after posting IE 5.01 SP1, Microsoft quietly removed any mention of it from the Web site. And while IE 5.5 is apparently complete, the company is being equally quiet about its release date. The Lockergnome's Chris Pirillo sent me an interesting link on the Microsoft Web site discussing "Internet Explorer 5.5 Minimal, Typical, and Full Install Options in Windows 95/Windows 98," though you'd have to search MS Support to find it. And I've seen the final OEM version of Windows Me: It doesn't include the final build of IE 5.5 (3406) but instead includes an older (3401) version. Is anyone on the IE team home?

Windows Me team to be scattered to the winds

It looks like most of the non-programmers working on Windows Me are being reassigned once this final Windows 9x OS is released. Instead of getting a chance to work on Windows Whistler--the Windows 2000-based consumer follow-up to Windows Me--these people are being scattered around Microsoft, which is interesting.

Corel finds itself in a hole

It looks like the self-described "Linux powerhouse" has some 'splainin' to do: The company's stock sank like a rock this week when it announced a loss of $23.6 million (down from a $9.7 million profit the year before) for its most recent quarter. Sales were reeling at $36.6 million, down 48 percent from $70.5 million for the same quarter a year before. The Canadian maker of CorelDRAW and WordPerfect also took a $240 million hit to its cash reserves due to its failed purchase of Inprise/Borland. But most alarmingly, the company has yet to show any growth in demand for its Linux products: Linux sales were only $4.9 million for the previous six month period, a quarter of the $20 million that Corel expected. Which once again makes me wonder: If a company with excellent products can't make money off of Linux, who else can?

Palm PC maker Handspring IPOs

With the crazy high-tech IPO seemingly behind us, Palm OS device maker Handspring opened respectfully this week, closing its first day up 7 at 27. The company, which was founded by the original makers of the PalmPilot, makes black and white Palm-compatible devices that come in iMac-like colored cases. Which means that it too will probably spank Windows CE in the market, despite CE's obvious technological lead. Sometimes, simpler really is better.

IBM does Crusoe-based ThinkPad with Windows 2000

This is an interesting "worlds collide" story: International Business Machines (IBM) will demonstrate a Transmeta Crusoe-based ThinkPad laptop running Microsoft Windows 2000 at PC Expo in New York this week. According to the company, the technology demonstration uses a stock ThinkPad 240 that's been retrofitted like a muscle car with Transmeta's low power consumption Crusoe microprocessor. The goal is to create the lightest Windows 2000 machine possible, one that runs up to 8 hours on a single battery. But the performance, since Crusoe does software emulation of the Intel CPU its replacing, should be interesting. Though most Crusoe implementations have focused on Linux for some reason, IBM is going with Windows because of overwhelming customer preference. Go figure.

Learn how to skin Windows Media Player 7

Thanks to Beta News for the heads-up: MSDN Online has posted an interesting article about the process of skinning, or providing new user interfaces for, Windows Media Player 7 (WMP7). In what can only be called a preview of a similar feature that will allow complete user interface skinning in Whistler, the follow-up to Windows 2000, WMP7 is fully customizable by end users, developers, and companies that wish to provide branding. For more information, check out the MSDN Online Web site

Oh good, another programming language

Despite denials last year that it wasn't doing this, Microsoft let slip this week that it will release a new programming language called C# ("C sharp", code-named "COOL" during development) that, yes, will be like C, C++, Perl, Java, and every other C-like language on the planet. Oh joy. Allow me to be the first to voice my displeasure with this thing and state the obvious: We don't need another programming language. There is absolutely nothing that C# does that one couldn't do with C++ or Java. So give it a rest, please.

Hello God, it's me, Paul: Thank You.

OK, this isn't even slightly computer related, but I'd just like to share my general joy with the world in noting that ABC has chosen comedian Dennis Miller to join the broadcast booth in "Monday Night Football" this fall. I think I speak for every man in America when I say, "Yippee." Aside from being hilarious, Miller is easily the smartest person to man the booth since Howard Cosell. Consider my Monday nights booked.

Heading to PC Expo...

I'll be heading to New York City next week for PC Expo, an annual PC trade show that should offer some surprises this year. Windows 2000 Magazine will have some floor presence, and I'll try and head over there as often as possible. This trip shouldn't affect the publication of WinInfo. See you in New York

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